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How Are Global Standards for Delivery Experience Changing?

The challenges that delivery businesses face in getting the right goods to the right customer at the right time are hyper-local. Routers need to navigate vehicle access, one-way streets, differing road speeds, and much more—while drivers have to deal with all the complexities that can come with actually getting into the customer’s home or business. This requires a lot of specialized knowledge, plus the software capabilities to turn that knowledge into efficient plans. delivery experience

But while the deliveries themselves are fundamentally local, expectations around deliveries have become increasingly global. You can chalk this up to the Amazon effect, to the covid pandemic, or to any number of other factors, but the fact remains the same: around the world, both B2B and B2C buyers have exacting standards for their deliveries. 

What do these standards look like in practice? Where possible, customers want freedom and flexibility regarding how and when their deliveries are scheduled. They want total transparency before, during, and after deliveries. And above all they want consistent on-time deliveries. Global tolerance for late (or even early deliveries) has largely evaporated. 

Of course, no expectations are completely set in stone. Delivery expectations evolve over time just like anything else. In this post, we’ll talk a little about the evolution that deliveries are undergoing at this very moment. 

The Importance of Customer Experience

Customer experience means different things to different people. If you’re delivering pallets of energy drinks to a local supermarket, you might not want to send as many notifications as you would for a new sofa headed to someone’s home. But, increasingly, these disparate kinds of delivery customers are united by a common desire: to have the information they want available to them at all times. 

Phone calls are already a last resort for many people. B2B and B2C customers alike are used to having their data at their fingertips at all times, and they don’t make an exception for deliveries. That means that the ability to provide a self-service delivery tracking portal is paramount for delivery organizations. Ideally, this would show order and driver information as well as real-time ETA data. In this way, you ensure that customers can see the most important details about their deliveries at a glance, building trust in the process. 

Of course, just because you offer real-time tracking doesn’t mean that notifications and alerts are an afterthought. Part of having the right information at the right time means not having to hunt down every single update yourself. 

Different deliveries will come with different expectations, e.g. frequent text and email alerts with information about what to expect for a dishwasher installation vs notifications at the start of a route and when the driver arrives for kegs of beer. But it’s all based on building trust by making sure the customer has confidence that they’re not missing out on data that they need. At the end of the day, this is why delivery experience is so important: it lays the foundation for trust between you and your customers. Successful delivery businesses can parlay that trust into improved customer loyalty and repeat business.

Why Speed and Efficiency Matter

Anyone who makes recurring deliveries or manages big and bulky deliveries that are often scheduled in advance knows that there’s a lot more to successful deliveries than just finding a way to get the goods to the customer the next day. But even when you’re not in an industry where lightning fast order turnarounds are the norm, speed and efficiency can be crucial to meeting customer expectations.

Your customers may not want their orders delivered at Amazon speeds, but they increasingly want to feel like their unique needs are being met. That means making it easy for them to find a delivery time that works for them, enabling them to reschedule if needed, and accommodating delivery requests of all sorts. 

To the customer, this looks like flexibility and an accommodating attitude. But internally, you need the processes to back it up. That means ensuring that you have delivery management technology that enables you to generate efficient delivery plans in short periods of time. It means seeking out software that offers you the processing power you need to route thousands of stops in seconds and make rapid adjustments to routes as needed. 

Let’s take delivery scheduling as an example. To provide the seamless experience that the customer expects on their end, you need to be able to offer multiple time window options that customers can select from at their leisure. On the back end, this requires your route optimization software to provide a lot of functionality. 

  • First, it needs to dynamically generate time slots that will translate into efficient routes based on your existing schedule for that day. 
  • Then, it needs to check them against your existing delivery capacity.
  • From there, it needs to be able to dynamically generate additional time slots if the first set doesn’t work for the customer. 
  • If the customer later needs to reschedule, your routing software needs to find a way to adjust without losing out on efficiency. 

Simply put, it’s hard to make this a reality without fast, efficient route optimization software. But the results are hard to argue with. Again, self-scheduling is just one example. The more quickly and efficiently you can plan and execute routes, the more effectively you can keep up with changing delivery expectations. 

Keeping Your Delivery Promises

There’s one element of the delivery experience that hasn’t changed much over the years. Simply put, your customers want you to keep your delivery promises. The difference between 2023 and 2003 in that regard is that now they don’t just want it—they expect it. 

Thanks to new technologies and evolving supply chain strategies, deliveries around the world have become on balance more reliable. In the past your average consumer might not have been shocked by a lost package or a late delivery, but today’s buyers across the spectrum believe that visibility and transparency should be the norm. Even in the event that there is a disruption, they expect to know about it immediately and get quick answers about plan b.

So how do delivery businesses make sure they’re in a position to keep their delivery promises? It starts with having the right processes and technologies in place. For starters, there’s route optimization. Your routing solution determines how efficiently you’re able to carry out deliveries, but it also determines what time you arrive at each delivery site. If your routing software consistently produces accurate ETAs, then you can show up at the promised delivery time virtually every time. 

This is easier said than done. Factors like driver speed differences, differences in service times, and traffic and weather conditions impact all impact arrival times—meaning it’s almost impossible to estimate them by hand. Instead, cutting-edge software leverages AI and machine learning to estimate arrival times based on past performance across your network.

Of course, keeping promises isn’t just about hitting your ETA. It’s also about communicating those promises clearly in the first place. It’s also about empowering your drivers to make sure the customer has everything that they need. Simply put, making that happen requires a holistic delivery management platform that covers not just routing but customer communication, driver management, and more. If you can find something that fits the bill, you can keep up with changing standards for delivery experience. 

DispatchTrack offers the most powerful end-to-end suite of tools for last mile logistics operators. Dispatchers, drivers, customers and clients can access our app on any device to schedule, track, modify and verify your deliveries.

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